Elder Zachary Brandon Brown
England Leeds Mission
Lister House, Lister Hill
England LS18 5AZ

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Prayer Builds Bonds

Hello, mom and dad :) .  Thanks for the pictures and package; it actually arrived this morning while we were still home, so we were around to answer the door and I didn't have to go pick it up from anywhere.  Thank you for sending it :) .  But most of all, thanks for bringing me into the world, and doing it at the right time with covenants to make it last.  You are the best!  

Well, this week has been good.  There was a zone conference that E. Williams was at, so we got some pictures together.  Here in Sheffield we've managed to get things pretty much resolved with all the problems that popped up last week, and things seem to be in decent order.  We actually saw a lot of success near the end of this week in finding some new people and scheduling them for baptism.  Our mission's been working on using the resource of a baptismal calender properly, and we've been applying those principles the last coupe weeks.  We saw it have a really fantastic effect this week, and we're excited for the people who've accepted the goal to be baptized.  The thing is, none of them made it to church, so some prayers to help encourage some effort in that direction would be very valuable.  Just to make the point that people are blessed by your prayers and appreciate them, I wanted to share something that M said this week.  We've gotten her a coffee glass marked with levels of how much she can drink as she works her way off of it, and she made a comment in the lesson that really impressed me.  She said she's determined to stop, both for God, but also in part for Tamsyn, who's been praying for her in specific for a long time now.  I've told M this in the past and mention it every once in a while, and that knowledge is a strength for M who has never once met my sister.  Prayer builds bonds, and it's a great progressor of love and well-doing.

I love what our stake president recently said in regards to our branch here.  He said he doesn't compare it to the English wards and branches, because it's quite simply in a different set of circumstances.  He likes to rather look at it it's growth in relation to where the early restored church was in the same time frame of it's establishment, because that's essentially what's going on here.  Building this branch with these people is bringing the Restoration of the gospel finally to them after all this time.  When he looks at things in those regards, he's very pleased with the progress and state of the branch.  He said he knows things won't be perfect and there will be some challenges, but the overall trend is positive and good.  I agree wholeheartedly.  What's going on here is a miracle, and it's one that's only just beginning if we look at the bigger picture.  That thought really makes me smile.

I love you very much, and I feel your love for me often.  I am frequently struck with gratitude for things you've provided me with and and taught me, and I'd just like to give a blanket thank-you for those.  If I tried to list them, I wouldn't have time and I'd miss some anyway.  So thanks :) .

Elder Brown

Me and the rest of the Slovak-American crew (Elders Bowen, Frahm, and Williams)

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Baptism, Fighting Fires and Gratitude

Hi mom and dad :) .  

It has been a good week, thanks!  No worries, I sent the pictures to you from the baptism, plus a couple others. 

This week was good in a lot of ways, the highlight being of course D's baptism.  As you might have noticed from the picture, I have a new companion from transfers last week named E. Rogers.  I knew him way back at the beginning of my mission while he was in Sheffield as well, so I was super excited to have him here.  He goes home a few weeks after me, so he'll likely finish his mission out in this area.  We're getting along really well and are getting a lot done.  He's a great help, and I'm grateful for him.  

D's baptism went very well; she's an impressive young lady who'll go do much good in her life.  She was very ready for baptism and is going to be a tremendous strength to our sparse group of active young women and youth, and I hope it's a sign that the youth group will continue to grow.

We've seen some great challenges come up with members and investigators and nonmembers alike this week, and opposition has taken a surge in the Darnall area.  We're fighting fires, but I know God can help us all through it.  Opposition to God's true church is nothing new, and is a dynamo to growth if we handle it right.  If you could pray for the members here, it would be very much appreciated.

I've got to get going, but I love you very much and hope that your week will be a good one.  I'm so grateful for the letters you send.  They sometimes come in the most needed moments to uplift and help me remember I have a family at home who loves me.  You're the best!  I pray for you often, and I know God's looking out for you.

Elder Brown

Me and E. Rogers (my new companion) at D's baptism.

Us at O and D's house so E. Stulen could say goodbye.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

New Things Rolling

Hi mom and dad, 

So this week has been pretty good, and we've been able to get some new things rolling.  D is doing fantastic--she passed her interview Saturday with ease and an impressive understanding of what we've taught.  Hopefully her father M will be baptizing her if we can help him overcome his shyness in front of people.  There's more good news concerning M, and F as well; they've both been called as branch missionaries, so that will be brilliant.  It'll be an excellent opportunity for them to learn and grow, and they are both excited and willing to serve in their new calling.  

At one of our member's homes, S, we ended up finding a potentially very good influence to help his family start being more interested in the church.  His granddaughter, D, has recently turned eight, and expressed a desire to be baptized.  She's always been in the lessons there when we teach her grandpa, so she knows what she's talking about when she makes a statement like that.  We said we needed to get permission from her parents, and I was a bit doubtful on that to be honest.  They are a younger couple who have sort of investigated in the past, but have been on the lazy side of things with continuing to learn or keep commitments.  Well, when we talked to D's mother about it, she actually said that it would be ok to teach the daughter, and I said we'd need her help in explaining things and teaching her.  S could do this too, but I wanted to help her mom be involved and because of that feel the spirit and want to start progressing as well.  Hopefully things go well; we did set a baptismal goal that both D and her mother agreed to, so our prayers are hopeful.

I've got to get on my way, so I'll let you know how the baptism goes and all next email.  Love you lots!

Elder Brown

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Super Amazing Week!

Hello mom and dad :) 

This week was super amazing!  A got baptized, but we also had a surprise baptism in the form of Pres. D's son, J.  He turned 8 on Friday, and E. Stulen and I had happened to stop by on that day in time to answer his question whether he could be baptized this Saturday as well.  I answered that he could if he passed his interview, which he did, and it turned out to be a big miracle for Pres. D, who then bore his testimony on Sunday that he had needed something to boost him up this week because it had been especially trying with many people talking bad about the church.  He said that being able to baptize his son was an answer to his prayers and gave him the spiritual upliftment that he needed.  

On Sunday we had a couple miracles, one of which that L came with us to church.  We've been working with him for a long time, and he's just never made it to church, but on Saturday we had a great lesson and rescheduled him for baptism, and then he took us to church with him in his car.  Ace!  Also, T and H came again, and they're looking to be married as soon as they can.  They said they don't really want to bother with a big celebration, but just want to have their wedding so they can quit living together out of wedlock.  Not only did they come, though, but they came by car with another one of our investigators, Ir, who is related to them.  It was his first time, and he said after that he'll come every week he has the opportunity.

Yesterday had perhaps the biggest miracle yet, which was in a lesson at M and M's house.  D, M and M's 16-year-old daughter, made her way to church without the rest of her family, who were sick, coming by bus where she usually is able to go by car with her dad.  That showed a ton of commitment, and we felt that she was ready in every possible way to accept a baptismal date to be baptized before her mother, even though she's been waiting on her the whole time we've been teaching the family.  When we went by on Monday to see them, her father wasn't home, so we couldn't go in the house.  I asked if her uncle, F, was home next door, and she said he wasn't, but we tried by because I felt like we should, and found him there with M with a group of other guys in the backyard.  All of the men were drinking, but M and F were not (Milan was even sat like 10 feet away from the table).  We went back to the house and had a fun Family Home Evening with a scripture chase activity, and in the end I felt impressed to invite D to be baptized on the 16th of this month.  She shocked both E. Stulen and I by saying yes without hesitation, and we were honestly stunned.  She's always told us in the past that she'll wait for her mother, but something has changed and we're ecstatic.  That was definitely the happiest moment of the week.

I tried a new Slovak dish yesterday called zemiakove pirohy, which is a bit like ravioli, but filled with potatoes and topped with bacon and sauce.  It's probably my new favorite Slovak food.

Love you lots!
Elder Brown